Dodgers identify Rays’ James Shields as “No. 1 target”

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According to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles the Dodgers are looking to add another veteran starting pitcher with Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly both question marks health-wise, and their “No. 1 target” is Rays right-hander James Shields.

Tampa Bay picked up Shields’ option for 2013, because at $10.25 million it’s a no-brainer, and he’s also under team control for 2014 via $12 million option.

Given their young pitching depth and payroll limitations it wouldn’t be surprising if the Rays are willing to take calls on Shields, but it would be surprising if they’re willing to deal him without getting a ton in return. During the past two seasons Shields has logged 477 innings with a 3.15 ERA and 448/123 K/BB ratio.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.